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Older Adult Special Interest Group

Tracing the history of the special interest group for the older person has been an interesting undertaking and the importance of keeping records of annual reports and newsletters has become very clear.

TAGS: older adult, special interest group

Tracing the history of the special interest group for the older person has been an interesting undertaking and the importance of keeping records of annual reports and newsletters has become very clear. Some topics for courses and study days have changed over the years but there are others which are still popular. In the early days, physiotherapists working in Aged Care were paid by social security as facilities did not pay salaries or negotiate contracts.

As early as 1991 several Auckland physiotherapists interested in the treatment of the elderly began planning for a special interest group. In 1992 an un-official group was formed with 39 members and was called “Physiotherapy for the Elderly”.

The first records date from1993 when the group received recognition from the NZSP as a special interest group There were 48 members many of whom were accredited equipment assessors...

Soon after becoming an official group, afternoon meetings were held and topics included A Radiology workshop, a ROM dance Presentation, Exercise classes in Rest Homes and Hospitals & The effect of Pastoral changes on respiratory function. Saturday morning workshops were held on seating, electro-therapy, confusion in the elderly and cardio thoracic management .1993, a paper was produced stating the group’s position as physiotherapy providers for older people. A Christchurch physiotherapist, Clare O’Hagan, attended a WCPT course in Malta on Education for Physiotherapists in the Field of Ageing. A sub committee was formed to liaise with the college of physiotherapy as input from the SIG on competency had been requested.

Membership grew to 48 and there was hope that membership from outside Auckland would increase so venues could be extended. A quarterly newsletter was started. A questionnaire was sent to all members in 1994. Files of annual reports were missing from 1994 to 1996, but during this time the name of the SIG was changed to “Physiotherapy for the Older Adult”.

The group’s rules and constitution were ratified in 1995 and its standards of professional practice completed. By then 70 % of the membership was working in an accredited facility. Consulting and advising were key roles and members were involved in training staff in safe client handling and the safe use of equipment in Rest Homes.

In 1997, with Rhys Hitchcock as chairperson, “Standards of Practice” were updated and a “Guide to Safe Lifting and Transferring” was produced, after consultation with colleagues in Australia, South Africa and the UK. Members contributed to the first Gerontology conference in 1997.

In an effort to involve other parts of the country, plans were started to transfer the administration of the group to Hawkes Bay. A special general meeting was held during the 1998 biennial conference in Napier in order to agree on the transfer of the executive.

In 1998 two members represented the group at a day conference on “Care of the Elderly” in Rotorua .

1998 and 1999 were years of change. The administration was established in Hawkes Bay with Kim Fraser Kreckler as chairperson. In 1999 the first course was held with an international speaker, VIbeke Vala, whose topic was “Osteoporosis”. No newsletter was produced but the committee worked on Falls prevention, teaching back-care and researching the safety of transfer techniques.

“ACC treatment provisions” for clients in residential care was considered as well as clinical documentation, outcome measures and competencies.

In Nov1999 a new committee was formed with chairperson Branwen Thomas.

A questionnaire was sent out to members and the responses indicated that the provision of a regular newsletter, the running of courses and keeping up with international trends were the priorities. Planning started for a 2-day course on “Mobility in Dementia” with Rosemary Oddy, an English physiotherapist who had worked with Alzheimer’s patients for many years. The course was held first in Hamilton and later in Christchurch.

In 2001, Marion Fletcher took over as chairperson and the SIG organised a post conference workshop on “Falls Prevention”. The speaker was Dr Roberta Newton, professor of physiotherapy at Temple University, Philadelphia. Teleconferences were started, as there was a need to communicate with members outside the Auckland area. The manual handling guidelines were revamped and recommended standards for trainers were established.

In 2002, the SIG joined the WCPT sub group for the Older Person. Opinions on “Scopes of Practice” for physiotherapists working with older people were sought from members.

In 2003 a study day to work on updating Older Adult Standards was held. Subscriptions to two international journals were made and a survey on the use of physiotherapy assistants was circulated to members. The SIG was asked for input into the new “Guide-lines for physiotherapy assistants”.

In 2004 Professor Meg Morris was brought over to run a course on Basal Ganglia Disorders in Auckland and Christchurch.

In 2005, a study grant was developed and the rule-book updated. A day course on “Osteoporosis” was run in Auckland and the presenter was Dr Gisela Sole from Otago.

A college liaison person was appointed.

2006 A Mulligan course was held in Auckland presented by Barbara Hetherington.

A SIG sub committee was involved with a joint programme with ACC to produce “Pause Break” and “Stretch posters” for health care workers. Ann Newsom took over as chairperson.

2007 A Mulligan course was held in Christchurch. Two committee members attended a day in Wellington to brainstorm ideas for a brochure promoting physiotherapy for the Older Adult. An Introductory course on Vestibular Rehab was held in Auckland and presented by Anne Burston and Carole Rogers. Four newsletters were produced.

2008 A questionnaire was sent out to members seeking information on Physiotherapy and Physiotherapy Assistant hours in Aged Care facilities. Results showed that there was a huge variation in hours. Following the NZSP conference, a work-shop was presented by Dr Jennifer Rowland from Illinois University in Chicago. Her topic was “Secondary Condition’s in Geriatric populations”. At the AGM, Dr Ngaire Kerse gave a presentation on “Dementia and Depression in older people”.

2009 A Vestibular Rehab course was run in Christchurch. A day seminar was held in Auckland in conjunction with the AGM. Nicola Saywell from AUT spoke on “Strength Training for Older Adults”. Lizzie Eckersley, who received a study grant from the SIG scholarship fund, presented her paper on “Motivation and its influence on Rehab”.

2010 A very successful Older Adult Symposium was held in Auckland in conjunction with the AGM . Topics included “Exercise Prescription for Older adults” presented by Liz Binns, “Pulmonary Rehab in the Community” by Sarah Candy from Middlemore Hospital and “The Challenge of an Aging Population” by Dr David Nicholls. At the AGM, some concern was expressed by members about Physiotherapy hours in aged care facilities and supervision of Physiotherapy Assistants.

2011 SIG website was updated and a new mission statement was developed. The SIG subsidised copies of an Australian book “Clinical Outcome Measurement in Adult Neurological Conditions” for members .PNZ established a focus group to look at physiotherapy in Residential care and Liz Binns represented the SIG committee on this panel The scholarship fund was reviewed and Tara Martin was awarded a grant for her master’s research into “Cueing for Parkinson’s”. At the AGM Dr Denise Taylor gave a presentation on Outcome Measures, two physiotherapists from ADHB gave an update on joint replacements, Joanne Lentfer NZPPA business manager presented The Employment Relationship and an arthritis educator from “Arthritis NZ” discussed Gout.

2012  A committee member was invited to take part in a review of the PNZ Physiotherapy Assistant guidelines . In conjunction with the AGM, a study day on Parkinson’s was held in September in Auckland, and the presenters were Tara Martin and Jessie Snowdon. A document was produced by PNZ in consultation with the SIG on Physiotherapy in Residential Care.

The current committee members are from a variety of settings. Liz Binns, chairperson, is a senior lecturer at AUT; Nateele Taylor, secretary, works in the community for a Northland DHB; Karen Porteous works for Waitemata DHB,; Ann Newsom and Frances Hadfield both work in Aged Care and the Community.

By Ann Newsom for SIG Older Adult SIG

Ref. Moving On A History of the NZSP 1973 -1979,

SIG Newsletters and Reports.




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